CONSTANTINOPLE – On January 20, 2021, immediately after taking office, U.S. President Joe Biden rescinded travel bans on thirteen nations, many of them predominantly Muslim, that had been imposed by the Trump administration, and reentered the Paris Climate Agreement, from which his predecessor had withdrawn. The Ecumenical Patriarchate expressed its delight in these measures in an official communiqué. The full text follows:
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate expresses its delight over two highly symbolical executive orders of the new U.S. President
The Ecumenical Patriarchate congratulates the new President of the United States, the Hon. Joseph Biden on assuming his duties, and expresses its delight regarding two highly symbolical executive orders signed immediately after his inauguration.
1. The decision to lift the travel bans imposed on 13 nations with predominantly Muslim populations.
It should be remembered that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has for several decades initiated a formal academic dialogue with Islam and hitherto organized some 15 joint conferences to discuss issues faced by all humanity in order to promote greater understanding and mutual respect between the two monotheistic religions, while also establishing peace and solidarity throughout the world.
In the framework of this inter-religious dialogue, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has – in the 30 years of his patriarchal tenure – officially visited numerous Muslim countries, including Iran, Bahrain, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, and others, where he has developed fraternal relations and firm communication with religious of Islam as well as leading academic personalities.
At the same time, he has convened high-level summits with representatives of the three monotheistic religions in Istanbul, Brussels, and elsewhere. The relevant Bosporus Declarations (1994 and 2005) and Brussels (2001) are well known internationally.
2. The decision for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
The countless initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to raise awareness about the protection of the natural environment as well as to motivate respect and love for the planet as our common home within global public opinion are familiar to everyone. His All-Holiness has to date convened nine large-scale international, interdisciplinary and interfaith ecological water-borne symposia, smaller-scale similar seminars on the island of Halki, and more recently a series of ‘Halki Summits’ – the fourth such summit … [was held on January 26].
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has participated in many environmental events in diverse regions of the world. He has also delivered a number of addresses and published numerous texts on ecological issues. Indeed, for his contribution to the preservation of God’s creation, he has become known as ‘the green patriarch.’
With regard to the Paris Climate Agreement, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew played a part in various phases of its preparation, even accompanying President Hollande of France – at the personal invitation of the latter – to a special preliminary conference held in the Philippines.
In this context, His All-Holiness repeatedly expressed his opposition to the position of the U.S. with regard to the Kyoto Protocol and, subsequently, to its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it was natural for the Ecumenical Patriarch to now welcome and enthusiastically endorse the decision of President Biden for the USA to rejoin the common global effort to resolve the challenge of climate change.”